Managing People 2

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Employee Engagement

Employee Engagement

Today, organisations have put efforts in ensuring that they have an idea of how employees behave and think with the intention of getting valuable insights of employees’ engagement. Employee engagement can be defined as employee’s disposition to take part in attaining goals and objectives of an organisation. It is the involvement and enthusiasm for work (Markos and Sridevi, 2010). Engagement does not simply mean working hard or use of vigour when one works (Albrecht, 2010). It involves putting oneself into the work. Leaders need to be in the forefront to encourage employee engagement by enhancing communication. They need to dismantle all the obstacles to engagement such as structures and processes in order to create a new structure of interaction between the employees (Albrecht, 2010). Research studies have concluded that employees’ engagement results to successful business performance. Engagement impacts factors such as employees’ attitudes as well as absence and productivity level. Without employee engagement, companies may face higher employee turnover, reduced shareholders’ return and poor financial performance (Gemma and Markwick, 2006). Communication plays a fundamental role in enhancing engagement. Communication creates a culture that supports transparency between leaders and employees. Promoting employee engagement through effective communication will lead to sensemaking and therefore enhanced organisational change (Georgiades, 2015). Communication has an impact on workforce engagement as it facilitates organisation change process.

The study of employee engagement is very relevant. Knowing the factors that contribute to employee engagement can benefit organisations since improving on these factors can lead to enhanced employee engagement. Communication is important in enhancing employee engagement. The paper is going to concentrate on communication as the fundamental factor that contributes to workforce engagement. The paper will highlight how people-focussed highlight communication in the organisation and how it leads to higher employee engagement. It also details out how communication assists during organisational change process and the relationship between communication and employee engagement.

Communication is vital to leaders and managers in managing employees. Communication is considered to be one of the most paramount concepts of any organisation. The plans, goals and objectives of a business may be enchanting, but for an organisation to be effective, managers and business leaders need to clearly communicate these to the team members (Towers, 2003). Lack of communication is considered a barrier in the business world. When communication is precise and vibrant, decision-making process becomes easier and decisions are more cognizant, rational and effective. Communication has a huge impact on decision-making in different ways including approval, collaboration, teamwork, and authority of the entire decision-making process. For managers to communicate effectively with the team members and to enhance their engagement, they are should focus on the communication styles that suit the needs of the employees. Effective communication in many companies is a huge challenge. Research suggests that communication is a learnt skill that has not been stressed among leaders (Towers, 2003). Companies, especially large and complex ones confuse communication with information sharing. It is an environment that creates a sense of trust and accountability that makes employees more committed to their work. This environment can only be created by enhancing open communication between the employees and the management. For leaders to communicate effectively with the employees, they must use different communication styles in different occasion and ensure that the communication styles used align well with the needs of the employees (Gruman and Saks, 2011). There are a number of communication styles used by leaders and manages today such as assertive, aggressive, manipulate, and submissive communication styles. The understanding of the communication styles is very important as it enables managers and organisation leaders learn how to interact with different people and how to respond to challenging situations. A manager will also be able to choose the communication style to utilize at a specific circumstance (Towers, 2003). Communication in the organisation may be in form of sharing information, giving input, sharing plans, sharing ideas, sharing and receiving criticism or praise, etc. Communication is therefore used in every facet of an organisation and without communication, organisations are bound to fail (Towers, 2003). For instance, in an organisation with poor communication in the part of the management, employees feel isolated and frustrated and the environment lacks trust and accountability. The motivation of employees goes down and this leads to poor performance and productivity.

Implementation of effective communications in the workplace enables employees to be committed in achieving goals and objectives and this make them remain engaged and motivated. This enhances their engagement (PWC, 2012). Communication is considered a medium that brings flexibility. It can be designed in a way that meets the needs of specific people. Messages, changes etc. can be added or removed depending on the audience. Without effective communication, employees become disengaged. Engagement could be attained by empowering the employees through verbal feedback, clearly defining their roles and reducing information overload. All these aspects illustrate the importance of communication in enhancing employee’s involvement. In addition, according to Schlachter (2014), one important predator of employee engagement is communication and knowledge sharing between employees. This offers an opportunity for them to exercise independence, to grow and learn. Therefore, in addition to decision-making, leaders should implement effective communication tool in order to increase workforce engagement (William, 2010). In addition, employees should be acknowledged, valued and appreciated in an event of good behaviour and completion of tasks as this leads to high engagement. This can be done through performance appraisal and appreciation tokens (Schlachter, 2014). Lack of such appreciation may lead to disengagement. Appreciation of employees is an indication that the hard work of the employees is recognised and can only be possible in an organisation culture that emphasizes on open communication. However, many organisational cultures inhibit open and effective communication (Fairlie, 2011). For instance, many companies have developed cultures that give the managers strong power and control of all the processes and operations taking place in the companies. These managers often make decisions and solve problems without involving the employees. However, these cultures can destroy the relationship between the manager and the employees and can create misunderstandings (Fairlie, 2011). This misunderstanding results to poor communication and interpersonal conflicts between the management and the employees. Open communication may come in the form of allowing employees to take part in decision making by communicating their ideas and views (William, 2010). This makes them feel appreciated and responsible and therefore increases thier engagement. When employees are given an opportunity to express their thoughts and ideas, thay feel valued and part of a larger team. They tend to realize that they are important and that they take an important role in ensuring that the goals and objectives of the organisation are achieved (William, 2010).

Organisations try to come up with strategies to improve workforce engagement during the change process by enhancing communication. Organisational change processes are simplified through effective communication processes (Georgiades, 2015). Communication assist employees overcome resistance during the change process. Communication strategy is able to deal with challenges arising in an event of an organisation change. For instance, when change is implemented slowly and incrementally in a manufacturing plant, there may result to rumours, anxiety and resistance in the part of the employees which may affect the change process (Georgiades, 2015). If communication is poor employees will not understand the purpose of the change process and this will lead to disengagement and unsuccessful change process. The management should satisfy the needs of the employees through effective and open communication during a change process. Face-to-face communication, open feedback and adjustments and effective communication strategies will enhance employee engagement during organisational change (Georgiades, 2015). For instance, a strategy organisations use to increase workforce engagement during organisational change process is engagement appraisal and feedback (William, 2010). Giving positive feedback to the employees is a communication tool that is likely to promote their engagement. Positive feedback enhances engagement by impacting the social-emotional culture of the organisation (Gruman and Saks, 2011). However, when feedback occurs as a criticism, it may damage the employee engagement by destroying their self-esteem. Additionally, drawing the attention of employees involves language and communication (William, 2010). Therefore, workforce engagement during a change process cannot be achieved without the managers taking into consideration on ways they communicate and interact with the employees. Since engagement entails seeking opportunities to contribute, managers should provide a platform for employees to express their feelings and ideas freely (Macey and Schneider, 2008). This will reduce employee resistance to change and will enhance commitment, trust and accountability. In addition, communication is able to develop a strong relationship between the employees and management during the change process (PWC, 2012). This strong relationship in the workplace is able to offer employees with favourable environment to change. The management is required to cultivate change-centred factors such as risk-taking, trust, and operational freedom which is possible through effective communication strategies (Georgiades, 2015). Generally, in order to enhance employee engagement during organisational change, effective communication should be used as a tool for developing change-centred factors and for eliminated resistance and enhancing commitment, trust, responsibility and accountability (Georgiades, 2015).

Organisations recognize that there is a vital interrelation between communication and employee engagement, this is why they endeavour to strengthen internal communication. Internal communication is able to build a culture that supports transparency between organisational leaders and employees (Towers, 2003). Therefore, it is able to engage employees in the business’s priority. Engaged employees are empowered and are dedicated and involved in the organisation. Communication is able to promote transparent dialogue between the management and the employees that facilitates trust and manage the image of the company and thereby promote employee engagement (Towers, 2003). One communication driver that is mostly used to enhance employee engagement is face-to-face communication. This type of communication promotes a sense of community and thus promote employee engagement. Organisations are divided into different departments, units and sections. The relationship between these divisions can either create engagement or disengagement. When the relationship is rocky and disintegrated, employees are not able to fully engage due to the fear of getting in the crossfire (William, 2010). Managers and organisation need to manage these intergroup relationships. If leaders are able to spread the message of unity and collaboration, then employees are able to engage more in their work. One major factor that brings about strong relationships and collaborations is effective communication (William, 2010). For instance, in an organisation where the managers promote open communication between different departments and units in the workplace, trust and accountability is enhanced. Employees are able to relate well with each other and with the management. And at the end, due to the feeling of unity and sense of community, employee engagement is increased (William, 2010). From the example, it is clear that there is a strong relationship between effective communication and engagement since communication creates a sense of community and strengthen organisation relationships which leads to employee engagement. In addition, one major element of effective communication involves listening skills. Employees and managment are obligated to clearly understand and nurture the organisational objectives and goals and what the employer expect from them (Towers, 2003). This should entails listening skills. Managers are also required to have good listening skills in order to be able to relate well with the employees. It will be important for managers to listen to the ideas and contributions of employees in order to give feedback on whether the work has been done well. This makes the employees feel valued and is able to enhance their engagement (Towers, 2003).

In conclusion,workforce engagement has received attention from researchers and practitioners in the last years. It has been linked to increased financial performance, high retention rate, high productivity and general organisational success. Employee engagement is the employee’s inclination to take part in achievement of goals and objectives of an organisation. One factor that contributes to employee engagement is effective communication. Without effective communication, employees become disengaged. Companies today are faced with organisational change that may result to employee resistance. Due to these changes, employees feel abandon and this may bring about disengagement. Goals become unclear and responsibilities may dramatically change. Communication tends to reduce resistance and thus improves employees’ involvement. Employees could be empowered through verbal feedback, clearly defining their roles and reducing information overload. All these show the importance of communication in enhancing employee engagement. Generally, there is a vital interrelation between communication and employee engagement, and therefore, there is a need to strengthen internal communication in organisations


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